(Above: Yesenia Gonzalez, and her family, attended the ‘Know Your Rights’ workshop in Coachella to learn more information for themselves and to share with others in the community. (Image: Olivia Rodriguez/Coachella Unincorporated)
Editor’s Note: Raices Cultura, a local arts and culture nonprofit, recently teamed up with lawyers, Megan Beaman, from Beaman Law, and Russell Jauregui, from the Law Offices of Russell Jauregui, to host a ‘Know Your Rights’ workshop on immigration issues in the new year. Coachella Uninc. asked Jauregui to list the top five things community members should do if they are worried about their immigration status in 2017.
1. Get the Facts
“With all the things that Trump and his supporters have been saying about deporting everybody, people should know their rights. People still have constitutional rights and they should know what they are. People still may have certain defenses to deportation, they still may have ways to immigrate so they need to know those things, they need to know their rights and know what their options are.”
2. Find a Trusted Lawyer
“Stay away from bad layers and ‘notarios’ who do not know the law. People go to them and get ripped off, so go to workshops where there is free information from lawyers who are here because they want to do this. Try to go to community events where you can get the right information for free.”
3. Find out if Citizenship is an Option
“Find out if you can become a citizen or if you are a legal permanent resident. At times, there are workshops that you can attend for free and there will probably be lawyers there that will volunteer to help you for free.”
4. Participate and Get Organized
“Don’t be intimidated by Trump and his supporters. We have constitutional rights. Especially in communities like Coachella where there are fewer resources, the community has to defend itself. So work with good community based organizations.”
5. Defend Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)
“If DACA is ended, then we must fight for an alternative to protect those who have DACA. The reason we have deferred action is because of the students, because they were active and because they got involved and pushed Obama to do it. Those that have the (DACA) status have been working and going to school, so we need to keep them with some kind of status.”
About the author:
Olivia Rodriguez is from Thermal, Calif. She graduated from Desert Mirage High School in 2011 and earned her bachelor’s degree in Integrative Biology from UC Berkeley in 2015. Olivia joined Coachella Uninc. in 2015 and one day she hopes to be a health leader and work alongside other community leaders in the eastern Coachella Valley to address health Inequalities in her community.